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The best mobile phone plans for seniors in Australia (and the worst)
There aren’t many options for seniors discounts on mobile plans and what’s available isn’t necessarily your best option.
There are plenty of benefits to signing up for a seniors card. In NSW alone, there are hundreds of services and retailers that offer deals and discounts for seniors card holders but in the tight-fisted world of telecommunications, there is only one provider officially affiliated with the seniors discount program: Pennytel.
There are more seniors discounts available from providers like Telstra and Vodafone but the options are slim and not always the best value, despite the discounted price.
Let’s take a look at the seniors discounts available for mobile plans in Australia and your next best (and more affordable) options.
If you’re looking for home phone and internet discounts, head over to our guide on Seniors discounts on phone and internet plans.
What you need to know about mobile plans for seniors
If you're on the hunt for a seniors discount on your mobile plan, there are a few things you need to know and a few questions you need to ask first. Firstly, how much mobile data do you need? If you don't need much at all and you're more interested in saving money, you can start at the very top of the list below with the seniors discount on the 1GB plan from Pennytel, which comes down to $9.89 per month with the discount applied.
However, for comparison, Moose Mobile will do 6GB for $8.80 per month for your first year. This reverts to $14.80 per month after your first 12 months are up, but the plan is contract-free so you can always swap provider.
If you're after a lot of data, you can get a 10% discount off any Vodafone Infinite plan, including the 40GB plan which comes down to $36 per month. With that said, there are other providers that offer even better value on high-data plans without a seniors discount. For example, Circles.Life offers 40GB for $14 per month (for your first six months, which becomes 30GB for $25 thereafter).
At the very bottom of the list, there's Telstra's Mobile Value Offer plan, which is a discounted plan for Health Care cardholders. The Telstra Mobile Value Offer might be discounted by $15 per month but it still offers some of the worst value on the entire market, even when compared to full price plans. We recommend avoiding this plan and opting for a cheaper Telstra MVNO if the leading network coverage is important to you.
Here’s a short list of cheap mobile plans for seniors on the Telstra and Telstra wholesale network that cost less than Telstra’s Mobile Value Offer, but offer more monthly data:
Best NBN plans for seniors
Check out our guide to discounted NBN plans for seniors while you're here.
Pennytel’s mobile plans for seniors
Pennytel’s discounted phone plan for Seniors Card holders
Pennytel offers a once-off credit ($10 off the first month) and an ongoing 10% discount for Seniors Card holders on three of its mobile plans.
Here are Pennytel’s seniors mobile plans:
- 1GB per month with unlimited calls and text to standard Australian numbers: $9.89 per month ($0 for first month) - usually $10.99 per month
- 8GB per month with unlimited calls and text to standard Australian numbers: $17.99 per month ($7.99 for first month) - usually $19.99 per month
- 18GB per month with unlimited calls and text to standard Australian numbers and international calls to 15 countries: $22.49 per month ($12.49 for first month) - usually $24.99 per month
Pennytel is a Telstra MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator), which means you can expect almost as much coverage as a Telstra customer. Telstra MVNOs like Pennytel lease part of the Telstra network (known as the Telstra wholesale network) to provide their customers with mobile coverage. For more information, head over to our guide to Australian MVNOs.
Vodafone's mobile plans for seniors
Vodafone: 10% off for seniors card holders
Vodafone’s seniors discount is a little more straightforward. If you’re a seniors card holder, you can get 10% off your monthly fees on any Vodafone Infinite plan if you sign up before the 26th of August 2021. The same 10% discount can be applied to Modem plans above $20 per month and Tablet plans above $30 per month.
So the $40 for 40GB plan becomes $36 for 40GB, the $45 for 80GB plan becomes $40.50 for 80GB and so on. Here’s the list of Vodafone Infinite plans seniors card holders can get a monthly 10% on:
Note: The prices below do not have the 10% discount applied.
Telstra’s mobile phone plan for seniors
Telstra: Poor value for seniors
Next up, Telstra offers a Value Mobile Offer to anyone who holds a valid Health Care Card.
The Value Mobile Offer includes a recurring $15 per month discount on the $45 Extra Small Plan. For $30 per month, that gets you 2GB of data per month and unlimited calls and text to Australian numbers. But don’t let the deal’s name fool you, great value it is not.
Whichever way you look at it, 2GB for $45 or $30 is terrible value. For comparison, the next plan in Telstra’s range is the 40GB Upfront Plan for $55 per month. On Telstra’s Value Offer plan, you’re paying $15 per GB, whereas you’re paying roughly $1.30 per GB on the Small Upfront plan.
If you’re a seniors card holder who wants or needs a mobile service on the Telstra network, there are much cheaper MVNOs available. Tangerine, for example, offers 3GB of monthly data for $14.90 per month. Here’s a list of plans from Telstra network providers sorted by monthly price:
Optus mobile plans for seniors
Nilch, nada, no - but it's not all bad
Neither Optus or Optus MVNOs offer any official mobile plans for seniors but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a great deal. In fact, some Optus MVNOs offer better value on mobile plans than most of the seniors discounts listed above.
Below you will find a short list of the most popular plans and deals available on the Optus network at the time of writing.